Potomac Stages Broadway
Audiences in London had a good time at this musical featuring the songs of Abba so Mamma Mia! was a hit. Audiences in Toronto had a good time at this bright and lively show so Mamma Mia! was a hit. Audiences in Los Angeles had a good time with this leading lady so Mamma Mia! was a hit. Now audiences in New York are having one fabulous time and Mamma Mia! is going to be a hit at the Winter Garden Theatre for quite a while to come.
Storyline: 22 of Abba’s greatest hits are used to tell the story of a young girl on a Greek island who is getting married and wants her dad to give her away. The difficulty is her single mom never said who her dad might be. From mom’s diary she determines it could have been any one of three of her mom’s former boy friends, none of whom she has ever met. So she invites all three to the wedding and tries to figure out which one should walk her down the aisle.
Louise Pitre makes a great Broadway debut as the mom while Karen Mason and Judy Kaye make welcome returns to Broadway as her “best buddies.” Another fine B’way bow is Tina Maddigan as the daughter. The gals all have the best numbers but there are fine performances by the three men as well.
It is all colorful, up-tempo and delightful with songs that will be familiar to even those who don’t think they remember who Abba was. (From 1974 to 1984 the Swedish pop group had an amazing string of hits ranging from “Dancing Queen” through “Thank You For The Music.”) Half of the fun is figuring out how Catherine Jones works each of these well known songs into the story she created.
Nothing is taken too seriously in this clever and energetic show. The set, the costumes, the lighting and – most of all – the performances are all bright and delightful. Where else can you see scuba divers dance in their flippers? The sound system delivers a live-performance quality that captures the Abba sound and the entire evening ends with the audience on its feet, bouncing to the music.
Winter Garden Theatre
Music and Lyrics by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd
Running time 2 hours 30 minutes
Price range $57 - $100